KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Quinton Lucas received an anonymous letter from an officer within the Kansas City Police Department.
The officer states their coworkers are in the 1-5 year range with the department. Lucas posted it on his Facebook page Thursday morning.
They say poor starting pay, leadership — specifically deputy chiefs — and being overworked are the three reasons workers are leaving KCPD.
“I think more fundamentally the people of Kansas City have a fundamental right to say, ‘Where’s all the money going?'” Lucas said in an interview Thursday.
“Unfortunately most of the ‘pay increase’ has only benefited the officers, sergeants, commanders in the top pay step. The deputy chiefs gave themselves an $11,800 raise since December of 2021, while officers got a few thousand dollars,” the letter states.
“We just had a big thing last week, a big to-do about the police budget being 25% as required by the state, which the city is already funding,” Lucas continued. “Why is this not going to paying competitive rates?'”
Lucas said he was invited to the police funding bill signing by Republican Gov. Mike Parson at KCPD Headquarters on July 27, but he said he didn’t go because the city is already funding the department at the 25% level this fiscal year.
Lucas wants local control of the department instead of the current Board of Police Commissioners who, except for the mayor, are all appointed by Missouri’s governor. Kansas City is the only city in Missouri that does not have local control of its police department.
“I’m usually the no vote, so I’m OK with that if it’s the right purpose. I just have to sleep at night,” Heather Hall said when asked if she’s in an interesting position on the city council, knowing colleagues of hers would like the police department run by the mayor and city council instead of the BOPC.
Hall’s also not convinced the police department has a leadership problem.
“Of course they’re overworked. We lost 179 officers,” Hall said in response to the question of why younger officers are leaving the department. “Every industry is overworked right now. Raise your hand if you’re in an industry where you don’t have loss of employees and tell me how the rest of them feel.”
The Fraternal Order of Police and the police department themselves would not comment on record.
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